New Orlando Pirates head coach Josef Zinnbauer. Picture: SUPPLIED
New Orlando Pirates head coach Josef Zinnbauer. Picture: SUPPLIED

A conspicuous lack of trophies will be the first talking point for sceptical SA football fans when the 49-year-old little-known German Josef Zinnbauer takes charge of Orlando Pirates as their new head coach.

Pirates have gone without silverware since their last trophy in the Nedbank Cup in May 2014.

Zinnbauer’s highest posting so far has been a six-and-a-half-month spell coaching Hamburger SV, from September 2014 to him being sacked in early March 2015. He had been promoted from coaching Hamburger’s reserves‚ or under-23‚ team.

Before that Zinnbauer‚ who retired in 2005 from a playing career as a midfielder at various levels in Germany due to a cartilage injury‚ began his coaching career at fourth-division VfB Oldenburg. He coached the reserves of then lower league Karlsruhe SC in 2012.

After his stint in the Bundesliga‚ Zinnbauer joined St Gallen — where late Bafana Bafana legends Phil Masinga and Sizwe Motaung once played together in the mid-1990s — in Switzerland’s Super League in September 2015. St Gallen finished seventh in the 10-team top-flight in 2015/2016.

Zinnbauer‚ who arrived at the club with much hope and fanfare‚ impressing with his smooth-talking interviews and not afraid to hype his football‚ was fired near the end of the 2016/2017 season‚ when there was no improvement from seventh position.

As a player‚ Zinnbauer’s crowning achievement was a season in the Bundesliga with Karlsruhe in 1994/1995‚ the campaign before SA striker Sean Dundee arrived at the club.

In a shocking and move‚ Pirates announced the appointment of their new head coach on social media and in a statement on their official website on Tuesday.

Bucs said current caretaker-coach Rulani Mokwena will continue in that capacity until Zinnbauer’s work permit is ready.

The Bucs statement said Zinnbauer was on a “three seasons appointment”. 

Pirates chair Irvin Khoza was quoted as saying: “It is a fine balancing act that goes beyond the all-important technical skills. A coach is tasked to win through others.

“His ability to keep the team focused‚ making them work in concert with minimal lapses‚ is an important requirement.

“I hope that Josef Zinnbauer is able to hit the deck running. I know I am fully representative of all the Orlando Pirates supporters in wishing him good luck.”

On Mokwena, Khoza said: “It is important that we thank Rulani for the fearless manner in which he stepped up to the plate when the need arose.

“One of the important lessons leaders learnt at the top is about themselves. They are called ‘Knowing what I know now’ lessons. I have no doubt that Rulani has learnt a lot of those for his betterment and that of the team.”

Zinnbauer expressed his gratitude at the opportunity to join a club of Pirates’ stature.

“I welcome the opportunity to lead one of the prestigious clubs on the African continent. I hope under my lead we are able to return the club to its winning ways‚” he said.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.